BBC BLOGS - Justin Webb's America
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Pragmatic on Guantanamo - and healthcare

Justin Webb | 21:23 UK time, Friday, 15 May 2009

A reasonable claim can be made that President Obama's approach to health is mirrored in his approach to the tribunals at Guantanamo.

In both cases he does not want to be where he is, but is willing to accept the facts and work with them.

On healthcare, this president would like - in his heart of hearts - a UK or Canadian system. He has said as much: that if he could start from scratch he would choose "single payer".

But he says as well that such a system is out of reach, unrealistic. So he compromises.

And so with Guantanamo: of course he would like to try these folks in the civilian courts. But he cannot. So, again, compromise.

Neither of these positions is that of an ideologue. Or of a politician who is willing to go down in flames for the cause if the cause is just.


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